Anti-Social Networking?

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It’s official! Social networking sites have taken over the world! Well ok, they did that years ago. Unfortunately, while professionals and social networking hold-outs of all types rush to join the MySpace/Twitter/Facebook revolution, they may in fact get more than they bargained for. Now that new and vicious breeds of virus and malware infections are targeting social networking users like never before, it is more important than ever to remind everyone about online computer security. Thankfully, there are some very simple steps that all users can take to make sure that they don’t spend more time and money cleaning up viruses than they do networking.

E-Mail Alerts Are Evil

Most, if not all social networking users have e-mail alerts turned on so that they are notified every time a fellow user updates their page, sends a message, or requests an online “friendship.” While these alerts allow social networking users to stay informed without living on the social networking sites, they give virus authors and other online attackers a prime way to infect your computers. Let’s say you have an online friend named John Fitzgerald Willhelm and you get an e-mail telling you that “John has invited you to join Computer Addicts Anonymous” with a helpful link to accept or deny the request. Most users are so excited that someone has sent them a message that they completely miss the fact that John is not necessarily their “friend” John and that the e-mail was not actually sent by the official social networking site. Within seconds, they click on a link that goes to a virus download site and *BOOM*.; A computer virus infection rears its ugly head.

The best way to deal with social networking e-mail alerts is to use them merely as a way of letting you know that something or someone is trying to get your attention. From there, users should log into the respective social networking site directly to check their messages and alerts. This ensures that you are dealing with real people that you have chosen to let into your circle. The same of course applies to baking sites, but that is another topic altogether.

Social Networking Games = Russian Roulette

I know how tempting it can be to join a friend’s Facebook mafia or take MySpace character quizzes. The problem lies with the fact that many of these games and add-ons require users to allow them some level of access to your social networking profile and sometimes even your computer browser. As is the case with malicious spyware infested browser toolbars, anything that is asking for your permission to do something can potentially cause your online reputation and computer harm. Lastly, some of these games and add-ons require users to visit a site outside of the official social networking site in order to download, potentially using the same malicious link methods described above.

Keep Your Infections to Yourself

It’s all peace, love and sunflowers until your social networking contacts get infected by a virus you sent them. Just as possession is nine tents of the law, having your username and password to your social networking sites is as good as being possessed by evil spirits. People often forget that the internet has no delete button and that their online reputation remains a part of the internet much longer than they might want. This is why it is of extreme importance to have an up-to-date and effective anti-virus program on your computer at all times and to change ALL of your passwords if you ever do get infected. All it takes is one trojan to steal your login credentials and you will spend countless hours cleaning up the mess while sending apology letters to your online friends.

Need help making sure that you are protected? Already infected and need a trusted computer repair company in Tucson? Contact a Tucson computer repair professional today!

Stay Safe and Stay Connected!


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